ATP Tour

Nadal eyes Masters record

2013-10-07 09:06
Rafael Nadala (AFP)

Shanghai - Newly re-crowned world number one Rafael Nadal can smash the record for Masters titles claimed in a year in Shanghai this week, as his great rival Roger Federer fights to save his season.

Nadal has enjoyed one of the best spells of his career after he came back from career-threatening injury to win two major titles, but he is still seeking further accolades.

After replacing Novak Djokovic at the top of the new ATP rankings - despite his loss to the Serb in Sunday's China Open final - Nadal can now become the first man to win six Masters trophies in the same season.

And the remorseless Mallorcan, storming into Shanghai as Typhoon Fitow also hits eastern China, is also targeting the coveted title of year-end world number one.

"If I am able to be number one at the end of the season, then that's an important achievement because I will be the best of the year," he said.

"That's something that really motivates me."

Since returning in February after seven months out with a left knee injury, the Spaniard has won 10 titles, including the French Open and US Open.

Until Sunday's loss to Djokovic, he had been unbeaten since his early exit at Wimbledon, where he was a shock first-round loser to Belgium's Steve Darcis.

"This is a great year, one of the best years of my career without any doubt," said Nadal, who is now just four Grand Slams shy of Federer's record of 17.

"It sure is special to be back to the top position of the rankings after more than a half-year without playing tennis."

Second seed Nadal equalled Djokovic's record of five Masters titles in a season by winning at Cincinnati in August. He has twice been year-end world number one, in 2008 and 2010.

Federer, by contrast, has endured a wretched season by his standards and risks missing out on the season-ending World Tour Finals, currently held in London, for the first time since 2001.

He has won the event, which features the season's top eight players, a record six times. But Federer has won just one title this year and did not reach any of the Grand Slam finals.

With the season entering its final few weeks, the Swiss still has work to do to reach the end-of-season showpiece.

But Federer has a tough task in Shanghai, slated to meet defending champion and top seed Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

Before he even contemplates that match-up he must get past either Australian warhorse Lleyton Hewitt or Italy's Andreas Seppi in his opener.

"It is always a tough draw here because it is always such a strong tournament," said fifth seed Federer, who has a bye into the second round.

"It's a difficult first match for me," he added. "It would be great to play Lleyton. We go back a long way and I remember playing him in Shanghai when the first Masters Cup was here.

"He beat me in the semi-finals and went on to win the tournament. We have had some amazing matches. Even if I play Seppi, that will also be tough because he is a very good player."

Nadal, Djokovic and two-time Shanghai champion Andy Murray have guaranteed their spots for next month's World Tour Finals, but the Briton is expected to skip the event after back surgery.

Other players in the frame are David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin del Potro - fresh from winning the Japan Open - and Federer's compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka.

Also pushing for places in London are French pair Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet, plus Canada's Milos Raonic, forcing Federer to look nervously over his shoulder.

The Shanghai Masters started on Sunday with first-round wins for Lukas Rosol, Carlos Berlocq, Florian Mayer and Pablo Andujar.

Read more on:    atp  |  rafael nadal  |  tennis
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Goffin stuns Tsonga

2014-09-19 20:38

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real
Vote

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.